Angela Merkel’s Re-election Bid Is Buoyed by Widely Watched State Election

One outcome that had been in play in Saarland was a governing partnership between the center-left Social Democrats and the far-left Left party, in what would have been the first such governing coalition in a western German state. But the Left party won only around 13 percent of the vote, and it is likely that the Social Democrats will again be a junior partner in Saarland in a coalition with the Christian Democrats.


Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in Rome on Saturday. Regional elections on Sunday could have big implications for her future.

Remo Casilli/Reuters

“It was a clear ‘No’ to a Left government,” Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

The far-right Alternative for Germany, which has advanced on an anti-migrant, anti-Muslim platform, was projected to receive around 6 percent of the vote, meaning that it would now be in 12 of Germany’s 16 state legislatures.

Mr. Schulz acknowledged disappointment in his party’s performance, but encouraged his supporters not to waver in the monthslong campaign for the national election.

Although Mr. Schulz has lifted his party’s flagging fortunes, most polls show that Ms. Merkel, who has almost 12 years’ experience of international leadership and crisis management, is still the preferred chancellor.

But Sunday’s projected victory for her party by no means guarantees that she will retain power in September.

In the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a leading German newspaper, the commentator Nico Fried compared Ms. Merkel’s situation to that of a janitor sweeping sidewalks during a snowstorm: “As soon as he has cleared one patch, he can start all over again.”

Mr. Fried pointed out that even if Ms. Merkel’s party keeps power in Saarland, there are two other state elections looming where he called…

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